Monday, September 29, 2008

What's next?

Hmmm, well, this weekend I am booked in for my first ever [tandam] parachute jump this coming Saturday. I'm shaking already :-). I'll let you know how it goes. Here's hoping for a storm on Saturday???

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Fantastic day!

What an awesome day! After yesterday's gusty crosswinds, today was fantastic! I took a Piper Archer PA28-181, ZK-TDJ, up for a flight today. I went out to our local training area in the Southern Wairarapa via the most direct route of Mount Matthews [find that on your VNC some day]. The surface wind was only 200 deg, 5 knots [runway 16] with 50km visibility. Awesome!

A quick session of turns, stalls, FLWOP and low flying and I'm back via Mount Matthews again to land. All of this with no ATC/traffic delays meant an easy 0.9 hrs for the flight. Nice!

Anyway, visiting aircraft today were this Alpha R2160, ZK-CTX, from CTC in Hamilton and a Hughes 369E, ZK-INZ, from Amalgamated Helicopters in Masterton about to touch down. Anyway, enjoy the pictures [Oh, and did I mention how perfect the day was for flying??? :-)]

CTC Wings, Alpha R2160, ZK-CTXCTC Wings, Alpha R2160, ZK-CTXCTC Wings, Alpha R2160, ZK-CTXAmalgamated Helicopters,Hughes 369E, ZK-INZ

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not much today... but maybe tomorrow...?

There's not too much happening today at the Aero Club [something to do with the weather...], just a couple of photos. The first is a General Dynamics Allison Convair 440/580 registered to Air Chathams. The other photo is the Piper PA31... it was a windy day, hence it's already well airborne by the time it passed the Aero Club.

Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow - I'm booked in for a flight tomorrow afternoon :-)

Air Chathams, General Dynamics Allison Convair 440/580,, Piper PA31, ZK-WHW

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aerospatiale visitor

I was out at the Aero Club this afternoon, and this Aerospatiale AS 350BA from Skyline Aviation in Hastings turned up. It appeared to be crewed for an aeromedical mission, but I don't have any details. ZK-HGB is a good looking aircraft [for a chopper that is :-)], and the black paint just finishes it off nicely.

The pictures are arriving, parked up and departing.

Skyline Aviation, Aerospatiale AS 350BA, ZK-HGBSkyline Aviation, Aerospatiale AS 350BA, ZK-HGBSkyline Aviation, Aerospatiale AS 350BA, ZK-HGB

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Learjet 35A visits Wellington

Here are pictures of a Learjet 35A parked outside of the Wellington Aero Club earlier today. ZK-XVL is an immaculate looking example, and is registered to Auckland Air Charter at an Auckland address [and I believe it is based at Ardmore Airfield].

If you look hard at the pictures, you'll see a little extra under the wings. This aircraft has a hardpoint under each wing. This is apparently very helpful when providing simulated attack services to the Royal New Zealand Navy... more details someone?

The other visitor today is a Robinson R22 ZK-HRJ, registered to SCN Helicopters in Porirua.

Auckland Air Charter, Learjet 35A, ZK-XVLAuckland Air Charter, Learjet 35A, ZK-XVLAuckland Air Charter, Learjet 35A, ZK-XVLAuckland Air Charter, Learjet 35A, ZK-XVLRobinson R22, ZK-HRJ

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Welcome to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre!

I really enjoyed the trip to Omaka, and the highlight of the trip was certainly the visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

This place is amazing! It is full of real [and some replica] aircraft from the early age of aviation - mainly from the World War One era. What is most amazing is that many of the aircraft are in flyable condition. I have seen several of the aircraft in the air over the past couple of years. In addition to an extensive array of vintage aircraft there is a sizable selection of genuine memorabilia, including uniforms of famous aviators, medals and videos including original footage.

If you are at all interested in vintage aircraft, this has to be on your list of places to visit! The centre staff are very friendly and very happy for you to take your camera, although the displays are designed to be looked at and photography is a little difficult due to the reduced lighting levels.

Anyway, to the photos. These are a very small selection of the aircraft on display. The photos don't really do justice to the displays, so rock up and see it for yourself!

- The welcome sign
- Replica Hawker Hurricane outside the centre
- Fokker DR.1 'Dreidecker' Triplane
- Pfalz D.III
- Nieuport 24
- De Havilland DH-5

Welcome to the Omaka Aviation Heritage CentreReplica Hawker HurricaneFokker DR.1 'Dreidekker' TriplanePfalz D.IIINieuport 24De Havilland DH-5

Across the ditch - next stop Omaka!

After the disappointments of the past few weeks, with aircraft [un]availability and weather problems, it was sooooooo good to get up and see some fine weather! After getting to the Aero Club at about 9am and checking the aviation weather, it was looking good for the entire day. Yippee!

I was able to get our transport for the day [Piper PA28-181 Archer, ZK-TDJ] preflighted and passengers called and relaxed for a short time. We left a little later than expected [we were gone around 10:30], but there had been delays for other flights with a maritime disaster exercise in Wellington harbour [hence the picture of the Helipro BK-117 ZK-HYI].

The trip across Cook Strait was uneventful and with fantastic views in all directions. Approaching the Woodbourne Control Zone, I contacted the tower and was cleared for the Ponds Arrival procedure to Omaka. Omaka is probably unique in New Zealand [someone correct me if I'm wrong] in that it is an uncontrolled aerodrome within a control zone, thus requiring a clearance for all operations... confused? Basically, you get a clearance to do something and are then pretty much left to it [for example, circuits]. The only other requirement is to report on the ground once complete.

Omaka appears to have positioned itself as a centre for aviation heritage [more in my next post], and despite being right next to Blenheim, it has a wonderful relaxed country aerodrome feel to it.

Anyway, here are pictures the Helipro BK-117 at Wellington and of some of the aircraft we spotted at Omaka. Hover over the pictures for brief details of each aircraft. More details on this Bristol Freighter can be found here.

Helipro BK-117 ZK-HYIBristol Freighter, ex Safe Air ZK-CPTBristol Freighter, ex Safe Air ZK-CPTRobinson R22 Beta ZK-INAPatchett Ag-Air Ltd, Gippsland GA200 ZK-MAWSkyline Trust Ltd, Cessna 402C, ZK-VADCessna 172N, ZK-JCIAESL Airtourer Super 150, ZK-CYSMarlborough Aero Club, Tecnam P2002 Sierra, ZK-WNRMorane-Saulnier MS 880B, ZK-BZZMarlborough Aero Club, Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-EQHWellington Aero Club, Piper PA28-181 Archer, ZK-TDJ

Nanchang visitor

I arrived at the Aero Club early today, expecting a good day to go flying, and I wasn't at all disappointed. On arrival I saw something very interesting - a Nanchang CJ-6! Warbird aircraft don't visit Wellington often, so it was good to see.

ZK-JQS is registered to the Omaka Real Flying Club, based [not surprisingly] at Omaka airfield at Blenheim. The first three pictures were taken at Wellington. The last two? Guess where I got to today.... Omaka :-)


Nanchang CJ-6Nanchang CJ-6Nanchang CJ-6Nanchang CJ-6Nanchang CJ-6

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Other odds and sods from today

Further to my last post regarding the CTC Diamond DA20 Katana, here are a few pictures of other aircraft. First is a Piper PA38 Tomahawk ZK-ESG, followed by King Air ZK-PLK [operated by Skyline Aviation visiting on an aeromedical mission from its Hastings base], then an Air New Zealand B737 taking off.

Piper PA38 Tomahawk ZK-ESGKing Air ZK-PLK
Air New Zealand Boeing B737

Fantastic weather and a Diamond Katana

After yesterday's issues with the weather, today was [as forecast] very very nice. I had no flying planned, so I just sat it out and admired the blue skies and gentle winds while others did the aviating.

I was on my way out to one of my photography spots when I noticed an unfamiliar aircraft about to land. I headed back to the airport to see a Diamond Katana from CTC in Hamilton taxying up. The two pilots [both CTC trainees] had come down from Hamilton, and after a quick walk over to the main terminal for a feed, they headed back to Hamilton.

Having never managed to get up close to a Katana before, I took the chance to get some photos. I think that these turned out quite nice.

ZK-SFG - Diamond DA20 Katana - CTC WingsZK-SFG - Diamond DA20 Katana - CTC WingsZK-SFG - Diamond DA20 Katana - CTC WingsZK-SFG - Diamond DA20 Katana - CTC WingsZK-SFG - Diamond DA20 Katana - CTC Wings

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bye bye Brass Monkey

Today was the rescheduled day for the Brass Monkey event at Nelson Lakes aerodrome. Everything was set to go this weekend, including weather that looked as if it might cooperate. A miracle! :-)

That's went Murphy came to visit. Rather than the wind dieing down last night, it was cold and windy this morning. Snow was forecast in Cook Strait [the bit of water between Wellington and our destination]. The PA28-181 aircraft we were supposed to take became unserviceable [again] and so I was to get current in a C172... when the weather cleared.

The nice thing about waiting for a break in the weather is that you get to sit back with instructors and students alike, and debate the irrelevant like engines [how could we talk for an hour or more about suck, squeeze, bang, blow??? - you had to be there...!], weather, aircraft performance and weight and balance of the replacement aircraft.

I've decided that if I every try and explain a p-chart again, I'll take a calculator [might be less confusing for all that way!].

Weight and balance was an interesting exercise. I won't bore you with all of the details, but if the MCTOW [Maximum Certified Take Off Weight] of the aircraft is 2300 lbs and the BEW [Basic Empty Weight of the aircraft] plus 4 people plus 44 lbs of baggage is 2309 lbs, how much fuel can you take? Needless to say we stayed on the ground.

I've booked the PA28 next Saturday, and we're planning on going to Omaka for most of the day to have a look at the aviation museum there. Should be good, and at 30-40 minutes each way, cheap!

Now for the pictures. Two pictures taken from Mount Victoria. The first looks down to the airfield, and the second shows the snow on the ranges to the east of Wellington. Enjoy!

Wellington International Airport from Mount VictoriaSnow on ranges east of Wellington